Category: Construction

Sustainability in Sewing

Hi everyone! I’m Anna from Finland and I’m a recent entrepreneur. I run my own small business of sustainable fashion (RAILOclothing), portrait photography and content writing. I’m so happy Maddie chose me as one of her guest bloggers – this is a great way of telling you about sustainability in sewing, which has been a passion of mine years before I even dreamed of starting my own business. Being a nature loving person, I have always recycled, reused and reduced. That’s how the idea of having a sustainable clothing business was first born. I was frustrated by the racks of unused fabric and clothing that I found in so many thrift stores and second hand markets. It started as a hobby, fixing unattractive clothing into pieces I wanted to wear myself. Shortly after, I found myself getting inquiries from people with the same sustainable goals. So I started making clothes for birthday presents, later on sold a piece here, another there, and over the years, set up a small Etsy shop. These days, it’s so easy to find inexpensive clothing and fabrics, that most people don’t even realize they could use something else. The very core of my sewing business is to use thrifted and remnant materials – curtains, leftover pieces of fabric, old clothing and pretty much anything you can think of. They are easy to find and, in fact, the older the materials, the higher quality they tend to be. Somewhere along the way, the fabric and fashion industries made a bad turn from quality to something they could use to maximise their profits. I bet you’ve noticed these days garments don’t last very long anymore… unless, of course, you make them yourself and only pick high quality materials. Something people are afraid of when using thrifted or old…

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tags: Construction, fabric, fabric shopping, Guest Post, upcycle, vintage Comments: 21

My Experience Teaching Sewing

I never thought I’d be a good teacher. As someone who doesn’t do well with children, I believed teaching would not be my forte. But like anything in life, the more you do something, the better you get and the more you like it. One begets the other. In addition to my bra making duties, I’ve been teaching more. Ironically, I’ve come to like it. It’s a special feeling to give someone not only the skills, but the confidence to make a garment. Sewing is powerful. Additionally, it’s a very special moment when a student’s face lights up with excitement when they finish. I don’t talk about my teaching a lot, but today, I’m letting three of my students talk about their experience. Part self-promotion? Yes, but also motivation for me to keep going. Reading what they wrote inspires me to continue. SSohini: A few years back, I stumbled across Maddie’s blog while trying to learn to sew and make patterns. Since then, I have been an avid reader. I reached out to her several times when I needed help, and she replied promptly every time. This year, I became interested in bra making. I was frustrated with RTW bras and started looking around for tutorials, patterns and blogs. One day, I noticed that she was offering bra making workshops and lessons. Obviously, I jumped in. Since I live in Texas, we held our lessons over Skype so that I did not have to travel. Via live lessons and email, Maddie helped me choose a pattern and fabric kits and walked me through the basics of bra making. After our first session, I made my first bra Norma’s Malborough. What was great was that whenever I got stuck or I had questions (some of them were a bit stupid!), I texted/emailed her and she responded quickly and explained everything in detail. I am still in the…

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tags: Construction, fabric, teaching Comments: 3

Three Tips for Attaching Hooks and Eyes

Hooks and eyes can be such buggers! Do you know how many times I have been inches from finishing, but had to walk away because I couldn’t attach the hook and eye? Too many. So many that I developed a few tips so that I don’t have a, “Maddie, walk away from the bra!” moment. They’re not revolutionary and I confident I’m not the first sewer to use them. Most are common sewing tips that I’ve brought over to the world of bra making. In any case, they’re helpful and I thought I’d share! Before I get started, there are two types of hooks and eyes most commonly used for bra making. The first is a continuous length that can be bought by the yard or meter. The tape is trimmed to fit the length of the center back and needs no finishing, but I prefer to zig-zag the top and bottom edges. The second is a precut length, usually 1×3, 2×3, 3×3 or 4×3. I use this type the most because it is heat sealed along the top and bottom edges so it won’t fray or look ragged with washing. Universal Needle When I first started sewing bras, I experienced skipped stitches when attaching hooks and eyes a lot. It was frustrating to get to the end of the project, and struggle to cross the finish line. The reason was that I was using the wrong needle. Ninety nine percent of the time, the fabric I use for bras has lycra or spandex, so I use a stretch or a ballpoint needle. But hooks and eyes don’t stretch, they require a universal needle. It seems simple, but when you’re excited to finish, you forget! So, remember to switch your needles when attaching – I like a size 16. For the same reason, I switch needles when attaching channeling. HUMP JUMPER…

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tags: bra making, Construction, lingerie, teaching Comments: 13

What i Made: Mallori Lane

What I like most about Merckwaerdigh’s patterns is that one pattern comes with several different variations of essential the same bra. I’ve been toying with my patterns to do the same, so that fronts, backs and strap details are interchangeable. At least somewhat. I really like the cutout back on Nellie Warner, so I tried to recreate it in a different way for this bra, Mallori Lane. I also added a bottom band that channels Fortnight Lingerie. To top it off, I made it with sequin mesh. Every woman NEEDS a sequin bra. Not wants, needs! I hate to leave you hanging, but stay tuned later this week for an exciting announcement about Mallori Lane! Front bodice: flat sequin mesh (Jack B Fabrics), underline with matte jersey (Jack B Fabrics). Used temporary spray adhesive to spray baste fabrics together prior to cutting. Bottom band: 2 ply stretch mesh (Fleishman Fabrics). Used temporary spray adhesive to spray baste fabrics together prior to cutting. The sequin mesh had enough stretch/recovery to be used on its own, but the wrong side is very scratchy, so I lined with a soft, matte jersey. I’ve worn it on many occasions and the only time I can feel the sequins is when I wear a sleeveless shirt and under part of my upper arm rubs against it, but it’s not enough to cause a rash or prevent me from wearing it. 3/8” plush/picot elastic at top and bottom band (Bra Makers Supply) 1/4” strap elastic for vertical and horizontal back straps (Bra Makers Supply) 2 metal rings and sliders (Bra Makers Supply) 3/8” channeling for side (Bra Makers Supply) I drafted the front piece using my measurements and this Pinterest image. It was a pretty straight-forward, simple draft. Because there is no seaming (i.e. cross cup…

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tags: bra making, Construction, lingerie, What I've Made Comments: 11

Creative Ways to Use Sheer Fabrics

I first met Jennifer from Workroom Social last year when she made a trip from NYC to Philly. From her blog, I knew she would be personable and friendly. The kind of person could have coffee or drinks with and wouldn’t be shy to talk about sewing. When I met her, she was so much more. She has an unparalleled presence. She recently teamed up with McCall’s Sewing Patterns to produce 6 short videos that will hopefully push sewers to think beyond the pattern envelope. Each one features two McCall’s patterns and one sewing technique. When she reached out to me to feature one of them, I jumped on board. I am always happy to help a fellow sewer, but especially Jen! In the video, Jen shows creative ways to use sheer fabrics (i.e. chiffon) by adding a simple appliqué. I hope you enjoy!

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tags: Construction, Guest Post, teaching Comments: 3